Alternative Genders and Sexualities in Development

Andri Mar Fridriksson

Studenteropgave: Speciale


In this thesis I aim to explore how one could go about examining alternative gender identities for development work. With the abundance of alternative gender identities, amongst which are identities that are very culturally specific, there is a need for a decent framework through which to provide a preliminary overview of the identities and the issues facing them before starting to try and fix said issues. Without it, there is a chance that one can start working only to have ones plans backfire because one did not consider a piece of information which might have turned up if one had started with such an analysis. I used available theoretical literature on pluralist gender theory, communities of practice, and social exclusion in order to build said framework. This framework is then used on three case studies of different gender identities which are specific to India and do not have an equal in Western culture. The three examined gender identities were hijras, kotis, and sadhin. Hijras are typically men who adopt feminine gender roles and clothing along with a castration ritual which completes their transformation to the hijra identity. They have long been misunderstood and disliked by mainstream Indian society and are thought to have certain mystical powers due to the sacrifice of their male genitalia. It is a gender identity which has existed in the area for centuries and has a strong sense of history. Kotis are males who engage both in homosexual sex and adopt female mannerisms and clothing for certain occasions while usually trying to keep up appearances with family and friends by fulfilling the obligations expected of them as sons. The sadhin are a small gender identity of the Kranga valley in the Himalayas. These are women who swear to a vow of celibacy around puberty and are thus able to take up a role as surrogate males, going so far as to achieve rights to inheritance equal with their brothers.

UddannelserInternationale Udviklingsstudier, (Bachelor/kandidatuddannelse) Kandidat
Udgivelsesdato30 sep. 2014
VejledereBodil Folke Frederiksen


  • Community of Practice
  • Development
  • Social Exclusion
  • Koti
  • Gender
  • India
  • Hijra
  • Sadhin